This time of year is the perfect time to start getting back in shape, revamping your fitness routine, and falling in love with running. However, one of the most challenging parts of beginning to run is learning how to make running a habit.
Related: 15 Amazing Reasons to Run
Making running a habit is key to any long-term success.
Whether you’ve taken up running to lose weight, gain muscle, stay in shape or conquer new goals – you’ll be hard-pressed to accomplish much without consistency.
While running is known for its impressive health benefits, heading out the door for a run once every three or so weeks won’t do you much good.
The challenge of any sport is no doubt that it is difficult to begin. Trying something unfamiliar for the first time can feel uncomfortable and downright unpleasant. But persevering through these struggles is what makes us stronger.
If we’re lucky, we’ll find the motivation we need to continue on even when times are hard. Eventually, each day will feel a bit easier, and before long, this once foreign activity will become part of our routine.
But still, getting to this point can often be tricky. Even once you’ve started to feel comfortable running, making a habit out of it brings new challenges of its own.
One of the biggest obstacles you’ll face when incorporating running into your lifestyle is finding a way to make running a habit. When life gets busy, which is so often does, finding the time to head out for a run can feel nearly impossible.
However, these simple tips will help you quickly make running a habit – so you never have to think twice about heading out for your run. Before long, your friends will be calling you “their runner friend” and questioning how in the world you make time for it all.
5 Ways to Make Running a Habit
Schedule it in.
There’s nothing worse than knowing you have to run, but not knowing when you’ll be able to fit it in. Starting the day without a schedule or plan for your run will likely leave you scrambling to make time before you go to bed. And after a long day, the last thing you’ll want to do is any sort of physical activity – leaving you primed to succumb to those excuses.
Create a plan for your day ahead of time, and make a point to schedule in your run. If possible, make a plan for the entire week all at once. Look through the activities you have planned each day and decide on a time to run that makes sense.
If your Thursday is packed with evening activities, plan to set your alarm and run before work. If you have Tuesday afternoon off work, plan to run after lunch before settling down on the couch.
Proactively planning time to run will help minimize excuses and leave you with less reasons to skip out. Before long, you’ll know the plan for the day before it even begins.
Find a time that works.
While the thought of running in the wee hours of the morning may feel motivating, it might not work best for you. Likewise, just because your friend fits their workout in after dinner doesn’t mean you’re going to want to head out after a big meal.
Find a time that works for you to run each day and stick to it. There is no such thing as the wrong time to run. Experiment with morning runs, lunchtime runs and evening runs until you find a time of day that works best with your schedule.
Once you’ve decided on a set time each day to run, your body and mind will begin to expect to run at this time. Stay consistent with your timing as much as possible to help establish a schedule. Before long, running will be a habit that you don’t even have to think twice about.
Prepare ahead of time.
Frantically trying to round up your gear while you scramble to get dressed in time to run will just leave you wanting to skip it all together. The key to maintaining a consistent running habit is preparation.
Prepare your gear, clothes, shoes and mind ahead of time – no matter when you plan to run the next day. Set out all of your fuel, water, gadgets and clothes to take away as much decision making as possible.
It’s much harder toskip a run when everything is laid out and ready to go. Take the time to prepare your running gear the night before no matter when you are planning to run. Then, as soon as you wake up or get home from work, change into your running clothes.
Don’t think twice about it.
Sometimes overthinking can be our biggest enemy. When we take the time to really think about our run, we often find ourselves coming up with a list of excuses to skip it.
Make a plan to run, prepare your things ahead of time, and then don’t think twice about it. When it’s that time of day, change into your running gear and head outside.
Allowing yourself extra time to procrastinate just leaves you feeling lazy and sluggish – and wishing you wouldn’t have wasted so much time when you finally do head out for a run.
In the beginning phases of creating a running habit, just doing it is key. Get out there every time, no matter how much you don’t want to. Stay consistent with your running each week and maximize your time by not thinking twice about it.
Set a goal.
Creating a running goal is a great way to keep yourself motivated and help make running a habit. Decide on a certain distance, weekly mileage, pace, or race that you’d like to complete and focus on this goal when running feels challenging.
Working towards a goal gives you purpose every day. When you’re feeling lazy or unmotivated, reminding yourself of your goals will help you stay on track.
Set a goal as you begin running and remind yourself how easily success will come once running is a habit.
Staying consistent as you start running is the best way to really make running a habit. Getting out there every week to run those miles will help show your mind and body what to expect. Before long, you’ll be heading out for your run without even a second thought.
In the end, all runners know how much better they feel after finishing a run – even when they really didn’t want to start to begin with. When you’re feeling unmotivated, remind yourself of that endorphin high at the end of each run. Persevere through the challenges and you’ll create a running habit in no time.
More beginner running tips:
- 5 Ways to Overcome Low Running Motivation
- 12 Things No One Tells You About Running
- How to Quickly Increase Your Running Endurance
- 5 Mistakes All Runners Make – and How to Avoid Them